U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


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Published in Beef Research Program Progress Report (1985) No. 2: 61-62


The advantages of producing bulls as opposed to steers in production efficiency, performance, and carcass leanness have been well documented. However, it also has been observed that bulls have darker colored lean and lower carcass quality grades than steers. In all studies summarized in a literature review, meat obtained from bulls was less tender when compared with meat from steers. Consequently, the superiority of bulls over steers in performance and carcass cutability have been largely countered by the inferior carcass quality of bulls. Production of beef by bulls, therefore, has not been widely undertaken in the United States.

Recent technological advances in meat processing may enhance bull beef quality. A review indicates that electrical stimulation of prerigor carcasses will improve tenderness and enhance lean color and marbling of beef. Improvement in tenderness by electrical stimulation was greatest when control samples had higher shear force requirements.

High temperature, early postmortem carcass conditioning may also improve palatability characteristics of meat from bulls.

Improvement in visual appeal and palatability of bull beef would certainly be in the best interest of the beef industry. The objective of this study was to examine postmortem treatments that could lead to improved meat quality of beef obtained from bulls. Methods studied were carcass electrical stimulation and high temperature conditioning.